Meanwhile, though President Bush may not have won the Hispanic vote nationally, his campaign appears to have peeled away enough of those voters to have affected the outcome in key states such as Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Florida, says John Zogby, president of national polling firm Zogby International in New York.
Hispanic voting patterns were especially intriguing in Florida and Colorado, both of which Bush won with 52 percent of the overall vote. Growing numbers of Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and other non-Cuban Hispanics in Florida are seen as diluting the GOP's influence on that state's Hispanic vote. That may have contributed to Hispanics supporting Republican Mel Martinez for Senate and Senator Kerry for president by comparable percentages.
Conversely, 74 percent of Colorado Hispanics voted for Senator Kerry, according to Zogby's polling, significantly better than the 61 percent (of Hispanics) he drew nationally. The appearance on that state's ballot of two well-known Hispanic Democrats who won their races – Ken Salazar for Senate and his brother John for the House of Representatives – was seen as a likely influence.
What remains to be seen now is whether the voting patterns that appeared to emerge this year are sustained. Mr. Suro notes that in the past specific Republican candidates such as Governor George Pataki of New York and Governor Jeb Bush in Florida have won significant Hispanic votes without triggering a lasting re-alignment of the Hispanic vote. "Sixty percent [for Mr. Kerry] is still not bad, but as a result of this election, the Hispanic electorate is much more in play," Mr. Suro concludes.
Says Mr. Zogby: "Hispanics are demanding they be courted by both parties. This election is really an opportunity for Hispanic groups to now go out and really define their game and demand their price."
|Attorney General Candidate|
As White House Counsel and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Alberto Gonzales awaits Senate confirmation hearings on his nomination last month to U.S. Attorney General, his nomination has drawn both kudos and concern.
Advocacy and civil rights organizations including the League of United Latin American Citizens, The National Council of La Raza, and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, have hailed the nomination as a historic advancement for Hispanics in politics. But some Washington analysts note that the president may be using the nomination of Mr. Gonzales – previously mentioned as a Supreme Court nominee – as a trade-off to appease national Hispanic groups while also ensuring conservatives will agree to it in exchange for more conservative nominees to the nation's court system.
"If the conservatives let this nomination go through without a fight, it'll be at an enormous cost," says political scientist Rodolfo de la Garza of Columbia University. "We're going to pay a very high price for this [nominee]."
A Better Pitch to Hispanics
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